Having the things you want has less to do with how much you make than you think. The people you see with fancy cars and large homes may not have these things because their income is significantly greater than yours, but their credit score is.
If you have good credit, you can have nearly anything you'd like. But achieving a decent credit score is easier said than done. About 1/3 of Americans have a credit score that is less than 600, and having bad credit has the same disadvantages as having no credit history at all.
If you're apart of the 30% of Americans who have bad credit, here's what you can do to raise your score:
Pay more than the minimum. Credit cards usually have a minimum payment due each month, if you aren't paying off your balance in full. Paying off your debts in full will always be the best option for boosting your credit score but this is the next best thing if that isn't feasible. Don't go one paying $25/month when you can afford to pay more, and dig yourself out the hole faster.
Make payments early. Credit card companies aren't as forgiving when it comes to late payments. You will be hit with a late fee, and that hurts your credit score. Instead of trying to make sure you pay your bill the day its due, pay it early and forget about it.
Stay within 30%. Just because you have a credit limit of $2,500 on one of your cards, doesn't mean that's how much you have to spend. A good credit score comes from using no more than 30% of your credit limit. If yourself going over this limit, apps like Credit Karma do a good job to alert you so you can use your credit card more wisely.
Make two payments. Making two smaller payment each month instead of one large one actually tricks the credit card company into thinking you've made multiple payments. If you only have so much to dedicate to debt repayment in the beginning of the month, do what you can. But once the end of the month rolls around, make another effort to get your balance down.
Maintain a long relationship. If things aren't going well, closing accounts won't help your credit either. Maybe you can't keep up with the minimum balance your bank requires or you just want to be done with a certain company, understandable. But it will only hurt you in the long run when creditors see that your only lines of credit have been severed. If you can, try to maintain longer relationships with banks to build a real credit history. The longer your histroy with a bank, the better it looks on your part.
How do you maintain a good credit score?